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James Yeh’s Best of 2009

20 Best of 2009: Pieces, Wholes, Droppings, Parts and Shards

Grizzly Bear – Vecktamist

Roberto Bolaño – The Skating Rink

Girls – “Lust for Life” (0:50 – 1:24, organ sounds, hand claps)

Atlas Sound – Micromix 21 (Pescado Rabioso – “Superchería” > Juana Molina – “Martin Fierro” > The Particles – “Apricot’s Dream” > Neil Young – “Bad Fog of Loneliness” [obscure live version I’ve been since unable to find])

The New Yorker – June 26, 2009 issue (Stephen O’Connor’s short story “Ziggurat”)

Harper’s Magazine – September 2009 issue (Sam Lipsyte’s short story “The People Who Kept Everything”)

Tao Lin – Shoplifting From American Apparel (jail scene)

Beach House live at East River Park Pool Party, Brooklyn, NY – 8/30/09

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

Real Estate – Real Estate (shimmery, underwater-sounding guitar tones)

Joe Swanberg – Alexander the Last (sex scenes, awkward male competition instrument-playing prowess scene)

Ben Blum reading the story “Someone You Could Love” at the I Had It Bad Reading Series, New York, NY – 5/20/09

McSweeney’s – More Things Like This (parts from “Things Like This,” originally published in McSweeney’s #27)

Sadie Benning – Play Pause installation at The Whitney Museum, New York, NY (audio)

Beirut secret show at Coco66, Brooklyn, NY – 1/26/09 (simultaneously melancholic and triumphant horn arrangements)

Michael Kimball reading Dear Everybody at Unsaid Magazine Reading, Brooklyn, NY – 8/11/09

Sam Phillips – “What It All Means”

Kurt Vile – Constant Hitmaker

Atlas Sound – Logos

Gigantic #1

Because a true documentation of what I found to be the “best” of 2009 also includes things that were amazing but from another year, I also felt compelled to present an additional list, “Best of Not 2009”: Things I First Discovered in 2009 That Are Actually from Different Years.

“12 Best of Not 2009”

Thomas Bernhard – Woodcutters (1985)

Bad Brains – Bad Brains (1982)

Richard Yates – Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (1971)

Beach House – Devotion (2008)

Beach Boys – Pet Sounds Sessions, Disc 3 (1997)

Shugo Tokumaru – Night Piece (2005)

Tao Lin – You Are A Little Bit Happier Than I Am (2007)

Evie Sands – “I Can’t Let Go” (1965)

Adrian Tomine – Summer Blonde (2002)

Som Imaginario – Som Imaginario (1974)

David Markson – The Last Novel (2007)

The Shangri-Las – “It’s Easier to Cry” (1964)

James Yeh is a founding editor of Gigantic. His fiction appears or is forthcoming in PEN America, elimae, the film 60 Writers / 60 Places, the anthology 30 Under 30 (Starcherone Books, 2011) and elsewhere. Recently, he completed work on a novel-in-stories, entitled I Love and Understand You and Would Be Perfect to You Now. He lives in Brooklyn and can be found online at yehjames.blogspot.com.

  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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